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Senate Resolution Honoring the Life and Legacy of Vaclav Havel

Dec 22, 2011 | Blog

Whereas Václav Havel, President of the Czech Republic, was widely recognized and respected throughout the world as a defender of democratic principles;

Whereas Václav Havel’s skills as a playwright and essayist helped promote democracy in Eastern Europe during the Cold War;

Whereas the plays of Václav Havel were instrumental in bringing international attention to the struggle for democracy in Czechoslovakia;

Whereas Václav Havel was imprisoned three times for his efforts to promote democratic thought and reforms in communist Czechoslovakia, yet maintained his convictions throughout;

Whereas Václav Havel was a cofounder of the human rights organization Charter 77 and the Committee for the Defense of the Unjustly Prosecuted;

Whereas Václav Havel, as leader of the Civic Forum movement, was a key figure in the 1989 peaceful overthrow of the Czechoslovakian communist government known as the Velvet Revolution;

Whereas following the Velvet Revolution, Václav Havel was elected by the people as President of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic in 1990, and following a peaceful partition forming two separate states, elected President of the Czech Republic in 1993;

Whereas under the leadership of Václav Havel, the Czech Republic became an important and valued member of the world community;

Whereas under the leadership of Václav Havel, the Czech Republic became a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on March 12, 1999, and today remains a valuable ally of the United States;

Whereas during his lifetime, Václav Havel received praise as one of the world’s great democratic leaders and awarded many international prizes recognizing his commitment to peace and democratic principles;

Whereas on July 23, 2003, President George W. Bush honored Václav Havel with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States Government

Whereas, since leaving office as president of the Czech Republic in February 2003, Václav Havel remained dedicated to the cause of respect of human rights worldwide, particularly in Belarus, Burma and Cuba.

Resolved, That Congress—

  • Mourns the death of Václav Havel and offers its heartfelt condolences to the people of the Czech Republic;
  • Recognizes his exceptional skills and achievements in the arts;
  • Recognizes his courage and dedication to democratic values in the face of communist repression
  • Recognizes his life-long commitment to promotion and defense of peace, freedom and democratic values;
  • Reaffirms its commitment to promote respect for the fundamental principles of freedom, democracy, and human rights where they might be threatened and in accordance to American values.